David ‘Punk’ Olsen, popular reviewer of bad movies, dies at 51

The comical “Punk’s Movie Reviews and Junk Food Update” aired on X96′s “Radio From Hell” from the ‘90s to 2010.

(X96) David "Punk" Olsen, shown here attending the FanX Salt Lake Comic Convention, delivered comical reviews of B-movies on X96's "Radio From Hell" from the '90s to 2010. Olsen died Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2022, at the age of 51.

David “Punk” Olsen, who delivered comical reviews of B-movies — complete with recommendations for the junk food to go with them — in a popular segment on X96′s “Radio From Hell” show, died last week.

Olsen died Wednesday, after a long battle with a non-alcohol-related liver disease, according to an obituary written by his family, and read on “Radio From Hell” on Friday morning. He was 51.

Olsen was a regular contributor to “Radio From Hell” for many years, delivering “Punk’s Movie Reviews and Junk Food Update.” In each biweekly segment, Olsen would describe a bad movie — usually a direct-to-video horror, science fiction or sexploitation movie — highlighting the absurdities of each film.

Olsen’s blog (punksmovies.livejournal.com) chronicles his reviews between 2007 and 2010, when he stopped the segment — but he had been delivering his reviews nearly from the beginning of “Radio From Hell” in the ‘90s, the show’s hosts said Friday. The hosts said the station would pay tribute to Olsen by airing some of his reviews Monday morning, between 6 and 10 a.m.

Instead of stars, Olsen used a rating system where he awarded films between one and four Prozacs — the worse the movie, the higher the Prozac rating. He then would list off the types of junk food that he suggested would best accompany each movie.

For the low-budget 2006 superhero movie “Lightspeed,” for example, he recommended “a nice hot pan of fish sticks … with fry sauce, a lightly toasted or highly nuked grilled cheese sandwich (add Spam as needed), a few Twinkies, a box of Goobers, some Sixlets and Pixy Stix, with a bottle of blue glacier Gatorade Frost or your favorite Polygamy Porter.”

The review segments were charmingly low-tech. Olsen wrote them in notebooks, in longhand, then transferred them to his blog. He would include an audio snippet of each film, which he captured on a cassette recorder held up to his TV set; he would then hold the cassette player up to the microphone when he delivered his review on the air.

David Leon Olsen was born May 20, 1970, in Murray, to Kay and Leon Olsen. He lived in Holladay and later Centerville, and graduated from Viewmont High School in 1988.

Olsen was an Eagle Scout, and attained that rank even though he never earned a swimming merit badge. “He loved to recount tales of his 50-mile hikes and the contraband he carried in his backpack,” the family wrote.

Olsen received a bachelor’s degree from Weber State University in history, mathematics and design graphics. He worked at Taco Maker, and for several years at EDA, an architectural firm in Salt Lake City, as an architectural manager. “He was loved by customers and feared by contractors,” his family wrote. Among his favorite projects was the new Salt Lake City International Airport.

Olsen was a regular at FanX, and an avid toy collector. “He had more ‘Star Wars’ weaponry than the Rebel Alliance and the Galactic Empire combined,” the family wrote.

Olsen is survived by his mother, Kay; his sister, Cindy McConkie; four nieces and nephews; and four grandnieces and grandnephews. His father and grandparents died previously.

Funeral services will be held Saturday, Feb. 26, at 11 a.m. at the Centerville 8th Ward Chapel, 210 E. 1825 North, Centerville. Family and friends may visit from 9:45 to 10:45 a.m. at the church before the services. Interment will be in the Bountiful City Cemetery. A GoFundMe campaign is underway to raise money for Olsen’s medical bills and funeral expenses.

Editor’s note: Sean P. Means contributes reviews of current movies to “Radio From Hell.”